Knowledge work and work-related stress

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    Work-related stress is an increasing problem in Europe. Earlier studies have stated that knowledge-work comprises working conditions which reflect a good psychosocial environment. Recent Danish studies, however, point at stress being an increasing problem in knowledge-intensive companies. These companies employ highly educated and com-petent people who apply their personal knowledge to generate new knowledge in close relationship with both custom-ers and colleagues. The employees are self-managed and work in networks and decentralised structures around pro-jects. Their working life is described as good and stimulating, but has on the other hand sides to it which can cause frustration and stress. The implication of organisational characteristics of the knowledge-intensive companies studied is a transfer of the responsibility for ones own working-life. Consequently, issues are dealt with informally, individu-ally and incidentally. It is only when problems exist that enhanced support is offered in order to help an employee to cope or recover. As most workplace initiatives work at this tertiary level, the sources of work-related and organiza-tional stress are not reduced or eliminated. If a company wants to initiate interventions that get to the root of the or-ganizational stressor, it will have to employ an organisation-directed strategy. The barriers to implement stress pre-vention on the organizational level are numerous and complicated, as the changes involves matters which are closely tied to the employees. The opportunities are on the other more financially tangible in terms of increased efficiency, decreased sick-leave, extra time for new developments, less mistakes made, increased working capacity, quality, effi-ciency and productivity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th World Congress of the International Ergonomics Association
    Publication date2006
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventThe 16th World Congress of the International Ergonomics Association - Maastrict, Netherlands
    Duration: 1 Jun 20061 Jun 2006
    Conference number: 16


    ConferenceThe 16th World Congress of the International Ergonomics Association


    • work-related stress
    • field-study
    • Management of Production
    • consultants
    • Knowledge work
    • preventive actions


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